Quality Schools frequently asked questions

The Australian Government is delivering new school funding and reform arrangements. To explain the reforms, some frequently asked questions are available below.

A series of fact sheets that explain the schools reform package in more detail are also available.

There is also a glossary for key terms used on this website.

How are the changes to the Australian Education Act 2013 impacting on how schools are funded?

From 1 January 2018 amendments to the Australian Education Act 2013 (the Act) took effect. Schools are transitioning over 6 or 10 years to 80 per cent of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) for non-government schools and 20 per cent for government schools.

  • These amendments will provide an additional $24.5 billion in recurrent funding for schools over 2018 to 2027, on top of the 2016–17 Budget settings.

The Government is also providing additional financial support to help a very small number of non-government schools who may find it difficult to adjust to funding changes.

Under the Act, states and territories must contribute at least 75 per cent of the SRS for government schools and 15 per cent of the SRS for non-government schools, unless otherwise agreed with the Government. States and territories will continue to have discretion for how to distribute their funding to schools, which means whether individual schools remain above or below the SRS is a matter for state and territory governments.

What’s the aim of these changes? How do they benefit students?

The Government is providing school funding that is based on the need of students and schools, so that funding goes to where it is needed the most.

By 2027, all schools will attract consistent shares of the Schooling Resource Standard from the Commonwealth.

When will the new funding arrangements take effect?

The new funding arrangements commenced on 1 January 2018 and schools have started moving to the new consistent shares of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS).

Based on 2017 funding allocations, schools and systems that attracted less than the new Commonwealth share of the SRS will move to their new shares by 2023.

Schools and systems that attracted more than the new Commonwealth share of the SRS will transition over a slightly longer and more manageable period, reaching their new SRS share by 2027.

What does this mean for my school?

More than 99 per cent of schools and systems will see increases in their Commonwealth funding. On average, per student funding from the Government will grow 4.3 per cent each year between this year and 2027. Use the school funding estimator to find out what this means for your school.

Will any schools lose funding?

A very small number of non-government schools are expected to have their recurrent funding reduced as they transition to new Commonwealth share of the Schooling Resource Standard. This is because these non-government schools have historically received more funding than similar schools with students with similar levels of need.

The funding reduction will occur in a manageable way, with most affected schools set to have only a small reduction in Commonwealth funding.

To provide schools with funding certainty and to support a smooth transition, the Government is providing a number of financial support measures designed to assist non-government schools to adjust to new funding levels. Further information is available at the how and when will schools move to new funding arrangements.

What is the National School Resourcing Board?

The Government established the National School Resourcing Board (the Board) to undertake reviews of different parts of the funding model under the Australian Education Act 2013 (the Act).

These reviews will help ensure public confidence in the funding model and ensure states, territories and other approved authorities comply with their obligations under the Act. 

The Board is currently undertaking a review of how socio-economic status scores are calculated and the way in which a non-government school’s capacity to contribute to the running costs of their schools is assessed. Its second review will focus on the loading settings for the different levels of adjustment for students with disability.

Over time, the reviews undertaken by the Board will help show how school funding is improving educational outcomes, as well as making sure funding is used in line with the Act.

The Board members are:  

  • Dr Michael Chaney AO (Chair)
  • Emeritus Professor Denise Bradley AC (Deputy Chair)
  • Associate Professor Natalie Brown
  • Professor Greg Craven AO
  • Mr Bill Daniels AM
  • Professor Stephen Lamb
  • Professor Ken Smith
  • Dr Alison Taylor

What are the interim arrangements for non-government school systems, while the National School Resourcing Board (the Board) undertakes socio-economic status (SES) score methodology review?

The Board's review of the SES score methodology will propose a timeframe for possible implementation (including staged implementation) from the 2019 school year.

From 2018, changes to the legislation through the Australian Education Amendment Act 2017 mean approved system authorities will no longer be entitled to a system-weighted average SES score. This will enable better targeting of funding, as SES scores will be determined based on the individual circumstances of individual schools. The Government has committed to extend funding equivalent to the system-weighted average arrangements for Catholic and other non-government system schools for 2018.

Systems will retain the ability to distribute funding they receive from the Government to their member schools according to their own needs-based model.

The terms of reference provide more detail on the review.

How is funding for students with disability being improved?

From 2018, the Commonwealth's student with disability loading will be based on the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD).

The NCCD captures all students with disability receiving adjustments to support their access and participation in learning.

Commonwealth funding for students with disability will be provided via a loading at different rates based on students’ required level of adjustment (supplementary, substantial or extensive). This will enable funding to be better targeted to student need as identified through the NCCD.

To ensure this data is of the highest possible quality, the Government is providing an additional $20 million over four years (2017-18 to 2020-21) to strengthen and moderate the NCCD across all sectors. Further information is available at  what is the Government is doing to support students with disability.  

How will the Government's plan improve student achievement?

Mr David Gonski AC chaired the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools (The Review). The final report was delivered to Government on 28 March 2018. The Government is considering the Review’s recommendations and findings which will inform a new national schools agreement between the Commonwealth and the states and territories. This will help make sure that reform actions are based on a solid understanding of what works. Implementation of reforms will be a condition of funding for states and territories.

What is required of states and territories?

State and territory governments will be required to deliver their share of a total public funding level of at least 95 per cent of the Schooling Resource Standard for all schools by 2023, unless otherwise agreed with the Commonwealth, as an ongoing condition of receiving Commonwealth funding.

States and territories signed up to an interim agreement in December 2017 and will also be required to sign a new national schools agreement with the Commonwealth. This agreement will be supported by bilateral implementation agreements with each state and territory.

Previous arrangements

What was the 2011 Gonski review and what did it recommend?

The 2011 Review of Funding for Schooling was commissioned by the former Government and led by Mr David Gonski AC.

The report made many recommendations, but central to the review was the concept of a needs based approach to funding that provided a 'schooling resource standard' with a base amount per student and loadings for disadvantage.

How was the 2011 Gonski Review implemented?

While the Schooling Resource Standard was included in the previous version of the Australian Education Act 2013, Commonwealth recurrent funding varied considerably depending on negotiated arrangements with state and territory governments.

This means students with the same need in the same sector were treated differently because of the state in which they lived.

If the previous arrangements had continued, the transition to more consistent needs-based funding would not occur within decades, or even within 150 years in some instances.

What is the Government doing to fix this?

Under the new Quality Schools Package  announced on the 2 May 2017, students with the same need within the same sector are treated the same, regardless of where they live.

Within 10 years (by 2027) all schools will receive their new share of Commonwealth funding.

The Government has nearly doubled the Commonwealth’s investment in Australian schools. This will bring total Commonwealth recurrent funding investment to all schools across Australia to $243.5 billion over 2018 to 2027.

The Government is ensuring that extra funding is focused on supporting schools and teachers to help every student achieve their individual potential. For example, through more one-on-one student support, specialist teachers, and targeted intervention programs.

In addition, the panel for the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, has made recommendations on how school funding should be used to improve school performance and student outcomes.